Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cameras Catch Gang on Dublin Double Decker Bus

THREE arrests have been made after a gang of youths engaged in a campaign of vandalism on buses.

The arrests took place in Drimnagh following an investigation which was launched after the windows of buses were kicked out by passengers.

A Dublin Bus source told the Herald the incidents took place over a five-week period between November and December.

On each occasion, a group of youths took over the back seats of the top deck of the buses.

"What they would do is more or less commandeer the back seats," a company insider said.


As the buses travelled along Camden Street and then onto Harrington Street in the south inner city area, the gang kicked the windows.

Other passengers sometimes looked around but the gang carried on striking the windows when they looked away again.

"They [the teenagers] would kick harder and harder until eventually it would begin to loosen.

"You would see them [on CCTV cameras] looking out and then kicking the window out," the source said.

The drivers of the buses thought the windows had fallen out accidentally. On two occasions, they fell onto the street and on another occasion the window fell onto the footpath.

All of the incidents happened during peak-time traffic.

The gang always entered the bus wearing hooded tops to hide their faces but, after extensively viewing CCTV images, gardai were able to identify a number of them.

Officials from Dublin Bus only realised vandalism was involved after viewing the photos.

While the cost of the damage only ran into a few hundred euro, the company was concerned that injuries could have occurred as a result of the falling windows. Vandalism is a major problem faced by Dublin Bus, at times leading to services being curtailed or even temporarily stopped.

In 2005, Dublin Bus fitted digital CCTV cameras to its fleet at a cost of €2.8m in an effort to combat on-board smoking, vandalism and other crime.


Each bus was fitted with up to eight cameras taking pictures every two seconds, allowing for maximum coverage of all areas of the bus.

The system replaced the single analogue cameras used on the top deck of buses.